THE NORTH OWNS 72 PERCENT OF THE LANDMASS IN NIGERIA; THEREFORE, THE NORTH OWNS 72 PERCENT OF NIGERIA’S OIL.
The above statement is a paraphrase of a statement made by the same notorious Fulani politician from Jigawa State who also claimed that Bayelsa oil belongs to Jigawa State. His premised his claim on the fact that since Northern Nigeria comprises 72% of Nigeria’s landmass and that a country’s continental shelf is dependent on its landmass, that most of the oil resources under Nigeria’s continental shelf belongs to the North. Using his whacked argument, The Republic of Benin with a small landmass should have a small continental shelf. The landmass of Nigeria is 8 times the landmass of The Republic of Benin. (923,768 sq. km vs. 112,622 sq. km). Consequently, if Nigeria’s continental shelf is 200 miles, that of The Republic of Benin should be 25 miles! This is utter nonsense and bunkum. The individual making this claim was the former majority leader in the Nigerian House of Representatives. With individuals such as this at the helm of the Nigeria’s Ship of State, it is no wonder that our ship is either going backwards or has run aground. What a shameful thing, that in a country with immense world-wide recognizable talents, that illiterates are allowed to run the country.
If this uncouth politician, knew how to do a google search on his smart or may be dumb phone, a simple search would have shown him that “according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in 1994, the continental shelf that borders a country’s shoreline is considered to be a continuation of the country’s land territory. Coastal countries have exclusive rights to resources located within the continental shelf, which legally is defined as the seabed up to roughly 370 km (200 nautical miles) from shore or to the outer edge of the continental margin, whichever is farther, subject to an overall limit of about 650 km (350 nautical miles) from the coast or about 185 km (100 nautical miles) beyond the 2,500-metre (8,200-foot) isobath, or line connecting equal points of water depth. A country with a continental shelf that extends farther than 200 nautical miles from its shoreline has 10 years from the date it ratified UNCLOS to submit a claim on the part of the shelf that occurs beyond the 200-nautical-mile limit. In the first decade of the 21st century, several countries with Arctic coastlines made competing claims on the extended continental shelf regions within the Arctic Ocean.” Therefore, small Republic of Benin has the same claim on the continental shelf as the big Nigeria.
Sudan, the largest country in Africa before the break up in 2011 has a smaller claim on the continental shelf of the Red Sea than Eritrea, one of the smallest countries in Africa by landmass. It is a country’s landmass by the Sea that determines her continental shelf and not the landmass in the hinterland.
Since no part of Northern Nigeria borders the Atlantic Ocean, the North has zero claim on the continental shelf of Nigeria.
Since Nigeria is a country with warped thinking, I would like to add to the conundrum, Northern Nigeria should secede from Nigeria and merge with The Republic of Cameroon to claim an even larger part of the continental shelf in the Gulf of Guinea. It appears that the North does not believe in the entity called Nigeria but is staying in the marriage consummated by Britain until the oil runs out or alternative sources of energy are discovered. As with human marriages, a divorce is preferable to a cantankerous and dysfunctional marriage.